Introduction: Quick Trick: Unstick Stuck Magnets

About: Wisconsinite Andy Reuter writes and shoots video about whatever DIY project is holding his attention at the time. For more, find him on Instagram (@andrew_reuter), Twitter (@andrewreuter) or YouTube (@andrewre…

You bought a stack of super-strong magnets. You took off one magnet to test it out, then, satisfied, tried to put it back on the stack. Instead, you sent a plastic divider flying across the room and now have two magnets stuck together. And boy, are they stuck together.

How will you get them apart?

Here’s one quick trick.

Full disclosure: I way underestimated the power of these magnets. When I tried to put a magnet back on the stack by hand, my fingers just weren’t capable of holding onto the loose magnet and stack of magnets without one flying out to greet the other. Indeed, I tried this twice, sending not one but two plastic dividers soaring. One of them almost hit me in the face. Whoops!

Edit: Thanks to user GreenAvenger for pointing out that thin magnets like these could shatter if struck with enough force. Be sure to wear safety glasses if you try this. And magnets like these can be very strong! Read his thoughts on magnet safety in the comments, or learn more on magnet seller K&J Magnetics' website.

Step 1: Put Magnet Stack in Vise

First, head for your vise. If you happen to have one made from wood, that will work best, because it's mostly non-magnetic. If not, a regular metal bench vise or machinist vise should work fine. In fact, even a wrench could do well.

Next, clamp the magnet stack into the vise just below the bottom layer of the top magnet.

Step 2: Slide Magnet Off

Next, use your fingers to slide the top magnet off the top of the stack. You should be able to use steady pressure to push that top magnet along until it's far enough away to be able to resist the magnet stack's pull.

Repeat until there are no longer any magnets stuck together without a divider between them.

Step 3: Replace Magnet

Place a plastic divider back onto the top of the magnet stack, loosen the vise, and lower the stack until the top divider is just above the top surface of the vise. Tighten the vise back down.

Next, take your loose magnet and flip it so that its polar orientation is the same as the one on the top of the stack. Generally, the north pole will have a red mark. The south pole will have no mark. The north and south sides should face each other. North and north will resist each other, as will south and south. If you try this with the same magnetic poles facing each other, the magnet stack will go flying, as shown in the above video.

Finally, slowly lower the loose magnet onto the top of the stack. The loose magnet will eventually pull itself back onto the stack. When that happens, you're done! Congrats.